CORVALLIS -- OSU flew past Colorado Saturday by a score of 44-17 in a wet, windy and all-around wild one at Reser. Both passing attacks were supposed to take flight and produce a high scoring game, but that prediction only came true for the Beavers.
Sean Mannion broke records galore and the Beavs found their defensive stride. Prime time special teams play didn't hurt OSU in this tilt as they walked away from Reser with their fourth straight win prior to a bye week.
Players of the Game Offense
Brandin Cooks was the most explosive player on the OSU offense. Cooks ended the day with nine receptions, 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Perhaps the most impressive play came with less than four minutes remaining in the first quarter, when Sean Mannion lofted a prayer into double coverage deep in Colorado territory. Cooks lifted himself up above Colorado defenders to make a spectacular grab for 52 yards and an OSU first down.
Sean Mannion threw six touchdown passes, more than any OSU quarterback has ever done before. That pretty much speaks for itself.
However, Terron Ward deserves recognition for working his keister off and making some big plays when it counted. Ward had some stout runs and receptions, including a catch and run TD. He wasn't as noticeable as some others but he was a key cog in an OSU offensive wheel that rarely stopped spinning. Ward's performance on Saturday was arguably his best this season - seven receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown, as well as 19 runs for a total of 55 hashes.
Two of Crichton's five tackles went for a combined loss of four yards, but those numbers don't not lend credence to the effect those tackles had on the momentum of the game.
Reynolds on the other hand was a lock down corner all game long, forcing CU quarterback Connor Wood to consider second and third reads -- both altering his timing in the pocket and forcing a ton of errant throws.
Turning Point/Game Changer
Jabral Johnson's first quarter tackle on a Wood rush attempt in the red zone ultimately changed the pace of the game for Oregon State. It proved not only that OSU had learned a thing or two since Utah as far as defending a mobile QB is concerned, but it prevented the Buffaloes from getting an early touchdown and an early lead on the ground with their signal caller. Johnson's stop on Wood was the perfect play to boost OSU spirits early.
Defensive Play of the Game
The whole game maybe? OSU shut down the Colorado offense for the most part, save for some early first half running yards but even then, they gave up only three points over the first 30 minutes and that was mostly due to a long CU interception return.
All week long, the buzz was about CU wide receiver Paul Richardson. Well, OSU held him to one reception for two yards in the first half. He finished with five receptions and 70 yards with much of that coming in garbage time.
Wood was expected to light things up too, and he ended the game with a mere 146 passing yards, two interceptions and two late, meaningless touchdowns on 14-34 passing. Had the Beaver D not played with such awareness, this game could have been very different.
In the second quarter, Reynolds made a beautiful diving interception on an errant pass from Wood under duress. Reynolds' pick did not culminate in a score but it aided in cementing Ol' Mo in the orange and black corner for the duration of the game. It energized the crowd and was Reynolds' first interception of the 2013 season, and the fifth of his career.
Offensive Play of the Game
The toss from Mannion to Cooks in the back of the end zone with 16 seconds remaining before halftime at Reser solidified the Beavs as the ultimate victor of the first two quarters. The drive put OSU up by a score of 17-3 going into halftime and took 2:18 off the clock, providing the Beavs even more energy prior to receiving the kick off in the third quarter.
Ward's 42 yard reception on a screen play from Mannion dealt a crushing six point blow to the Colorado defense. The catch and run represents the longest pass reception by a Beaver running back in 2013.
The complete and utter shutting down of Richardson? That Colorado had just 22 passing yards throughout the first half? That Wood was largely inaccurate and seemed shaken by the OSU D-line all day long? Are you reading this correctly? Yes, you are. OSU's defense did more than just come to play on Saturday, they blew Colorado away.
Despite OSU's positive production via the aerial attack throughout the game, this contest did not end up being as pass happy as many assumed it would be. Wood and Mannion were both expected to put on a clinic, but as it turns out only Mannion ended up putting up some crooked numbers (27-52 for 414 yards and six TD's). Wood struggled to shake off speedy pass rushes and tight man coverage all day, which was a testament to both the play of the Beaver defensive front as well as its coaching.
OSU assembled an adequate ground game… finally. Although it was not necessarily conventional nor super-productive – and Cooks had OSU's longest run of the season on a 23-yard fly sweep – the fact remains that there was a run game, at long last. Few anticipated Mike Riley and his staff to run the ball with much authority, yet Ward nearly doubled in one game what he had managed to put together all season long on the ground.
Between the second and third quarters, OSU outgained the Buffaloes offensively by a spread of 367 yards to 33, and put up 28 points in that time frame, whereas Colorado put up a donut.
Zack Robinson forced the fumble recovered by Trevor Romaine on one kickoff recovered a squib kick that Colorado touched in the third quarter. No one had been expecting the special teams to suddenly rise up, yet they did.
Interesting Stats of the Game
Three deflected passes at the line for OSU on Saturday – seniors Devon Kell, Mana Rosa and John Braun all had tipped balls on Wood at the line of scrimmage, and each time it seemed to prevent what could have otherwise been a first down or even more for the Buffs.
With less than seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, Mannion eclipsed the 350 yard mark for passing for the fifth time this season. Mannion's success through the air effectively vaulted him past Derek Anderson's previous record of four games with 350-plus hashes and set a new precedent for Beaver signal callers of the future. Mannion's six TD's surpassed the mark of five held by both him and Lyle Moevao.
Tight End Caleb Smith's three yard touchdown reception in the first quarter of this matchup was the first career TD for the sophomore.
Junior punter Keith Kostol booted a 67 yard punt in the first quarter that tied his career long. Romaine's fumble recovery was the first of his career as well.
Tailback Chris Brown's first career reception went for six yards and a fumble out of bounds… but he ripped off a nice chain-mover later in the game.
Monday Morning Quarterbacking
You really have to search to find something… Is it a tad discouraging that the longest running play thus far this season has come from a receiver.
The Special Teams Edge
Romaine had a hell of game all things considered, and so did Robinson, for reasons mentioned earlier.
Funniest Moment of the Game
When Ward tried to huck a pass to Mannion on a fake, OSU's signal caller was met by a Colorado defender immediately after reeling the pass in. The funny aspect comes in when one considers that Mannion actually came close to breaking a tackle and moving in for six on the play. Ward must be upset that one of his few chances to earn a TD pass in the stat book was relinquished by some solid tackling on behalf of Colorado.